Thanksgiving 101

How to Carve a Turkey

Updated on 09. Nov. 2020

Carving a turkey might sound like an intimidating task, but with a few tips you can master it on the first try.

share Share
bookmark_border Copy URL

If you've never carved a turkey, it's easy to be intimidated by the feat. However despite the turkey's size, it's actually one of the easiest meats to carve, so long as you have the right steps. 

Carving Basics

Carving your turkey the right way is key to retaining flavor and moisture, as well as making full use of the bird. Remember when carving that turkey is a lean meat, and begins to dry out as soon as it's carved, so it's always best to just carve as much as you'll eat to order.


1. Seperate the legs.

Position the turkey on the carving board with the legs facing you and remove the twine. Pull one leg away from body, then slice down repeatedly through the meat with the carving knife until you see the joint, cut through the joint to separate the leg from the body.

2. Cut through the leg joints to release the thighs and drumstick.

The leg has a V shape, with the joint at the point; cut through that joint to separate the thigh and drumstick, and set the drumstick on a platter. Slice thigh meat from around the bone, then twist and pull the bone to remove. Slice thigh meat into pieces. Repeat this process with the other leg.

3. Cut under the wing tip and seperate the drumettes.

Pull the wing tip away from the body to expose the joint and use the carving knife to cut through the joint, leaving the drumette intact (to help stabilize the turkey while cutting the breast meat). Repeat with other wing tip. Note: If you have stuffed the turkey, you will need to spoon it from the cavities into a serving dish.

4. Remove breast meat from bone.

Remove the wishbone to make it easier to remove the breast meat. Insert the tip of the carving knife on one side of the breast bone and work the tip of the knife down along the curve of the bone to loosen the meat from the bone while pulling the meat away in one piece, until separated. Set this aside to cool while removing the other side of the breast.

5. Pare the breast meat.

Cut the breast meat against the grain into slices; do not slice too thinly or the meat will dry out before serving.

Add comment